bammer, editor/manager from Roll 'Bama Roll, who also joined us for our podcast this week, was kind enough to answer some questions about the Tide. Let's get started, shall we?
MKirchner12: You guys are obviously coming off of two straight losses to end the 2013 season, and that's basically uncharted territory for Alabama in recent years. What was the fanbase's reaction to that end of the year slide and how do you think the team responded to it in Spring and Fall camps?
bammer: Our reaction? Well I didn't see any burning couches or anything but the loss to Auburn, in particular, wasn't handled as well as you'd like to see from adults. /Tries to block from memory tweets and messages sent to poor Cade Foster by "fans".
However, I think by and large the fan base has moved on and is looking forward to the season, but certainly how last season ended (with regards to corner play) we have our reservations on how this season will play out.
MKirchner12: Last week, Abpriddy from the Musket wrote a pretty thought provoking article on why Alabama's dynasty might be heading towards the end of it's run and cited some similar dynasties from the past and how Bama's fall could mirror those of Miami, Nebraska, and USC. Do you think that there's a real possibility that Saban's monster might be nearing it's end, and if you do what sort of things could go on in the program to facilitate the fall?
bammer: No, nope, nah, hell no.
We are a talented team this year (both the offense and defense average 4 stars at every position) but 2015 Alabama will be absolutely loaded. In fact, moving forward, you'll be seeing the most talented teams Saban has ever assembled. So, the dynasty isn't over and in many ways it's just beginning.
Honestly, outside of major NCAA infractions (knocks on wood) the only thing that could "end the dynasty" would be for Saban to retire. (knocks on wood doubly hard)
MKirchner12: Here's the easy question. As of this writing, Saban hasn't named a starting Quarterback for the game against West Virginia. What are the pros and cons of Blake Sims and Jacob Coker and who do you see emerging as the victor (both immediately against WVU and as the Tide's long term QB)?
bammer: Blake Sims is the senior and by all accounts, actually by Saban's own words, has played "Very, very well" so far in camp. Coker is the unknown but his arm strength has been talked about by our wide receivers and anyone who has seen him at practice.
The million dollar question is whether or not Sims is playing over his head and surprising everyone, including the coaching staff, by his performance. OR (and this is the scary scenario) Is Coker just not all that good and we have two average at best quarterbacks fighting over who is going to hand the ball off to Yeldon/Drake/Henry the most?
My gut tells me Saban has been impressed by Sims' progress and hard work and at the very least wants to give the senior a chance to win the job. If this is the case, then I'll be comfortable with whoever wins the job, eventually...sometime...maybe?
MKirchner12: You hired Lane Kiffin. Still kinda getting over that. What sort of advantages is he really bringing to Saban's coaching staff from a schematic point of view? Also, if Alabama inexplicably loses to WVU, how quickly will Kiffin be named head coach of the New England Patriots?
bammer: The offensive coordinator at Alabama runs they system that Saban tells him to run. No, Saban doesn't call the plays but it's his system and vision for the offense that the OC is running. You really didn't see that big of a change in offensive philosophy between McElwain and Nussmeier and I don't believe you'll see a completely revamped Alabama offense under Kiffin. Sure, they'll be some new wrinkles and formations here and there but the philosophy will stay the same.
Hopefully, we will see our skill players utilized better. I'd like to see our TE O.J. Howard split out, matched up in space against a LB more often or Kenyan Drake's speed taken advantage of on a more consistent basis. We average only about 65 plays per game and you expect Yeldon to receive about 17+ carries. That doesn't leave a ton of touches to go around for the likes of Amari Cooper, Christion Jones, Robert Foster, Derrick Henry or a Jalston Fowler. So managing our talent and spreading the football around will be Kiffins toughest challenge, but hopefully his experience at USC will help in this regard.
MKirchner12: I'm not going to bother to ask for a score or game prediction. Alabama is a prohibitive favorite and in all likelihood is going to win this game handily. However, there's always a chance of an upset. In your opinion, what can West Virginia do against the Tide to keep this game close and have a shot at the end to pull off the upset?
bammer: The defense will have to sell out against the run and force our QB to throw into man coverage. The 3-3-5 is tough to pass against, and I'm not all that confident in either Sims or Coker making the perfect read and throw everytime, especially if it has to be made quickly.
On offense, WVU will have to slow down our pass rush by using quick passes and getting your speedsters matched up against our LB's. If you do this, Trickett may be able to attack the coverage abilities of our young safeties and corners. But he'll have to be very accurate and on time with his reads or our defensive line will have a field day.
MKirchner12: Bonus Question - Who would win in a completely fair and even fight between Voltron and the original Power Rangers Megazord? I'll hang up and listen.
bammer: Gotta go with Voltron here. I always hated Power Rangers growing up and Voltron is the defender of the universe, for crying out loud.
Thanks to bammer from Roll 'Bama Roll for taking the time to help us preview this weekend's game. You can follow him on Twitter @thelyell_RBR and be sure to check out Roll 'Bama Roll for more Crimson Tide coverage.